Jwaneng mayor warns against Trans-Kalahari Highway robberies

Trucks waiting to cross into Zambia at Kazungula. Truckers plying the Trans- Kalahari Highway have threatened to boycott the road. PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Trucks waiting to cross into Zambia at Kazungula. Truckers plying the Trans- Kalahari Highway have threatened to boycott the road. PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

JWANENG: Jwaneng Mayor, Tsietsi Oodira-Kwenje has expressed his disappointment at some residents who have allegedly made it a habit to steal from trucks involved in accidents along the Trans-Kalahari Highway.

The transit road, which stretches from Tlokweng border gate, through Jwaneng, to Gantsi and into Namibia has seen accidents involving trucks carrying goods such as maize, cooking oil and vegetables.  It is alleged that residents between Jwaneng and Sekoma would then grab the goods from the accident scenes.

This, according to Oodira-Kwenje, has led to some Namibian and South African truckers threatening to boycott the Trans-Kalahari Highway citing such crimes along that road.

Oodira-Kwenje condemned the behaviour saying that those who get to the scene of the accident never even bother to give first aid to victims. He said that Jwaneng‘s lifeline is solely dependent on diamonds and should these countries boycott using the route, the economy of the town will feel the impact.

He said as the town leadership they are working around the clock to look for other means of diversifying the economy of the town, but their efforts could be impeded by incidents of looting at accident scenes.

“We have brought the Desert Race here in Jwaneng for two consecutive years and if you continue displaying such behaviour, it will be moved to a different place,” he said.

The commissioner for Southern District, Moses Gaealafswe, also noted that the Trans-Kalahari road is one of the international highways, which Botswana and other SADC countries jointly built for smooth and free trade.

He highlighted that if countries pose a threat of boycotting the highway it will mean all small businesses along the road will collapse.

“We have a plan to bring more developments and invite more businesses along the road.  These developments could create employment,” he added.

Gaealafswe said that despite their valuable efforts, they are equally concerned about Batswana who attack truckers during accidents to grab their goods.  He advised that such barbaric behaviour is uncalled for and should stop. He charged that should those countries make good their threat, the economy of Jwaneng would collapse. He further noted that taking goods from trucks during accidents without permission is a crime.

He also highlighted that residents are putting their health at risk, as some of the food is not clinically proven to be healthy for consumption, noting that, some of the trucks might be loaded with explosives.

Jonathan Tebogo, a young resident, questioned the kgotla as to why authorities were more concerned with fallen foreign goods, which he alleges are likely to be insured, while they fail to maintain the road.

He further said the Trans-Kalahari Highway is dangerous and has claimed lives. He then accused the chairman of Southern District Council and former Member of Parliament, Mephato Reatile, of failing to advocate for the maintenance of the road.

Kgosi Sigale Letshele called Tebogo to order saying that he should tone down and respect the elders.

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